UW Today

November 6, 2012

News Digest: Free energy-saving tool for computers, Upward Bound math-science grant, MathAcrossCampus Friday, Honor: Sam Wasser

Cartoon drawing of computerTool to manage power usage, patch common software available free
A new tool is available that’s meant to save energy and improve your computer system’s security.  University of Washington Seattle faculty, staff and IT managers can install IBM’s Tivoli Endpoint Manager on UW-owned computers. This new power and patch management software manages power usage and patches some of the most common software packages, including, Skype, iTunes and Java.

“The Tivoli Endpoint Manager program enables us to reduce our carbon footprint, increase savings and manage our computers more efficiently,” said Kelli Trosvig, vice president for UW-IT.

The program is provided at no charge to UW faculty and staff and is currently installed on more than 3,000 computers on the UW Seattle campus.

The software doesn’t affect computer performance. Software settings are pre-set, but can be adjusted to meet specific needs. Actual energy savings will be realized when computers are not used for an extended period of time (“sleep” mode), and will vary with individual use.

If you access your computer via Remote Desktop Connection, you may need to modify your settings.

Facilities Services financed the purchase of the project software and hopes to recoup part of the cost through a rebate from Seattle City Light.

UW receives first Upward Bound math-science grant in state
The University of Washington Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity received a five-year, $1.25 million Upward Bound math-science grant to help low-income and first-generation students succeed in high school and pursue post-secondary degrees, especially in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

It’s the first Upward Bound Math-Science grant, funded by U.S. Department of Education, awarded in Washington state. It will serve 65 students at Seattle’s Chief Sealth, Cleveland and Franklin high schools, and is a sister program to UW’s existing Upward Bound program that serves the same schools.

“We are excited to provide low-income and first-generation students with a chance to gain the skills needed to succeed and take advantage of the wealth of opportunities provided by our region’s high-tech economy,” said Dave Wolczyk, director of UW’s Upward Bound Math-Science program. “We are also hopeful this grant will allow us to contribute toward the efforts to close the state’s achievement gap that exists between low and higher income students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.”

Info transmission in neurons and networks topic of MathAcrossCampus
The brain is often thought of as a computer, taking in information and transforming it into new forms that allow it to drive actions. Learn how one mathematically quantifies how information is represented in neural systems during this quarter’s MathAcrossCampus lecture, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Nov. 9, in Kane 210.

Speaker Adrienne Fairhall, associate professor of physiology and biophysics and director of the UW Computational Neuroscience Program, will explain that in many sensory systems information is represented efficiently, even at the level of single neurons. Properties of single neurons can dramatically affect the way in which information at different timescales is propagated through neural networks.

MathAcrossCampus is a quarterly colloquium series meant to showcase applications of mathematics, to create a community of mathematicians and math users at UW and to help guide students and researchers looking for projects and jobs in math-related areas.

Conservation Canine's dog and handler walk in snowSam Wasser, Conservation Canine program earn Alberta environmental award
UW’s Sam Wasser, the university’s Conservation Canine’s program and the energy firm Statoil Canada have received the Outstanding Achievement in Environmental Technology and Innovation Award for the province of Alberta. The award is from the Alberta Science and Technology Leadership Foundation.

Wasser, professor of biology, conducted a study using the conservation canines to find scat samples from caribou, moose and wolf during winter oil exploration programs in northern Alberta where oil sands, or tar sands, are found. The project, sponsored by Statoil, investigated the influences of wolf predation, habitat fragmentation and human use on caribou and moose stress and nutrition.